How to Potty Train

How to potty trainNow that it has been determined that your child(ren) is ready to begin potty training, we now need to talk about HOW to potty train and be successful! Potty training is a huge step for your child and for you. The secret to success is: PATIENCE and TIMING!

Potty training success hinges on physical, developmental, and behavioral milestones, not age. Recall that many children will show signs of being ready to potty train. This is when you know that you can start. There is no rush and if you start too early it may take your child longer to train.

Here We Go! Let’s Learn How to Potty Train

When it is time to begin potty training use these guidelines to help you along the way:

Prepare the equipment

Firstly, place a potty chair wherever your child is spending most of their time. Make sure that your child’s feet touch the ground. This may mean that a run to the store is necessary to purchase step stools. Encourage your child to sit on the potty in clothes. Start by emptying the contents of diapers into the toilet and have them flush it down.

Choose your words

Secondly, carefully choose your words for how you will describe your child’s bodily fluids. Avoid using words in a negative tone such as stinky, smelly, and dirty.

Be ready to move…FAST

When you embark on potty training, get ready to move and move FAST! Carefully watch for signs that your child may need to use the toilet. Some of these signs may include: squirming, squatting, or holding at the genital area. Help your child identify and become familiar with these signals. Immediately stop what they are doing and head to the closest toilet. Remember, keep the situation positive!

Make a schedule

Make going to the potty a routine. Start by taking your child to the potty every two hours, as well as every morning (when they wake up), naps (before and after they wake up) and right before they go down for bed. It can often be easier for boys to master potty training sitting down. After your boy has mastered having a bowel movement on the potty, you can move to standing up. Make this fun by bringing a favorite book or toy to read or play with while getting use to sitting on the potty. Offer praise to your child even for just sitting on the potty. You can increase the incentives as they become more successful using the potty.


Make sure you explain hygiene to your young child and form healthy habits. Ensure that your child washes their hands after every attempt at using the toilet (successful or not). For girls, make sure you teach them how to spread their legs wide and to wipe from front to back in order to avoid germs and bacteria moving from the rectum to the vagina and bladder.

Diaper Free

Make sure you ditch the diapers a few days in to your efforts of potty training. Feel free to use incentives, like a sticker chart, to help encourage your child to be successful. And, always make it fun and rewarding. You want to avoid negativity and feelings of frustration.

Finally, if your child resists using the potty chair or toilet or isn’t getting the hang of it within a few weeks, take a break. Chances are they aren’t ready yet. Pushing your child when they aren’t ready can lead to a frustrating power struggle. Try again in a few months. To help determine if your child is ready to potty train, check out Is it Time to Potty Train? or this article from the Mayo clinic.